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Tyson Jost enters playoffs on hot streak as former UND players chase the Stanley Cup

Thirteen former UND players have a shot at hockey's greatest prize this summer.

2021-05-14T040112Z_1493563327_MT1USATODAY16078374_RTRMADP_3_NHL-LOS-ANGELES-KINGS-AT-COLORADO-AVALANCHE.JPG
May 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Tyson Jost (17) celebrates defeating the Los Angeles Kings at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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The season didn't start the way Tyson Jost wanted.

The former UND forward had one goal, three points and a minus-1 rating in his first 26 games.

But on Thursday night, Jost was talking about his hot streak at a postgame press conference, while wearing his new Presidents Cup champions shirt after his Colorado Avalanche clinched the NHL's best regular-season record.

Jost finished the season with six goals, 14 points and a plus-15 rating in the last 28 games.

He ended the regular season on his best offensive run of the year, scoring four goals in the last six games, including a pair of tallies in the regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Kings.

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"It's been awesome," said Jost, who centered Colorado's top line with star forward Nathan MacKinnon out of the lineup. "It feels good. Honestly, it feels better to get first place. It was a goal of ours starting in training camp. It's just an awesome group of guys. It's exciting. I'm happy I'm contributing."

The odds say Jost is the most likely former UND player to add his name to the Stanley Cup this season.

There are 13 former UND players chasing the Cup -- 11 as players and two as coaches -- but according to The Athletic's formula, the Avalanche have the strongest odds to win it at 38 percent. The next closest is assistant coach Dave Hakstol's Toronto Maple Leafs at 16 percent, followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning at 10 percent.

Vegas odds list the Avalanche as the favorites, followed by the Golden Knights, Maple Leafs and Lightning.

Jost and the Avalanche are taking on the 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in the first round.

With MacKinnon back, the Avalanche moved Jost to center Valeri Nichushkin and Brandon Saad on the third line.

"Jost is hot right now," Nichushkin said. "It's easy to play with him. I think he's on fire right now."

UND's other Cup hopefuls are T.J. Oshie with the Washington Capitals, Rocco Grimaldi with the Nashville Predators, Zach Parise and Luke Johnson with the Minnesota Wild, Tucker Poolman and Derek Forbort with the Winnipeg Jets, Austin Poganski with the Blues, Brock Nelson and Travis Zajac with the New York Islanders, Matt Kiersted with the Florida Panthers, Hakstol with the Maple Leafs and head coach Dave Tippett with the Edmonton Oilers.

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Player notes

Parise scratched: Parise is finding himself in an odd position to start the playoffs -- in the stands. Parise was a healthy scratch for Minnesota's first playoff game against the Vegas Golden Knights, a 1-0 Wild win in overtime. Parise's role with the Wild dwindled late in the season. He had seven goals and 18 points in 45 games for the Wild during the regular season.

Oshie to center: Oshie has been asked to play all three forward positions for the Washington Capitals this season. He has started the playoffs at center, a position he played extensively at UND, especially during his junior year. "I feel like I know the responsibilities for each position," Oshie said. "I'd probably like to do better on my faceoffs. Other than that, I feel pretty comfortable there."

Nelson on the board: Nelson became the first former UND player to get on the scoreboard during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring in the third period for the New York Islanders, who toppled the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1.

Former UND players chasing the Stanley Cup

T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals

Rocco Grimaldi, Nashville Predators

Tucker Poolman, Winnipeg Jets

Derek Forbort, Winnipeg Jets

Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild

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Luke Johnson, Minnesota Wild

Tyson Jost, Colorado Avalanche

Austin Poganski, St. Louis Blues

Brock Nelson, New York Islanders

Travis Zajac, New York Islanders

Matt Kiersted, Florida Panthers

Dave Hakstol, Toronto Maple Leafs (assistant coach)

Dave Tippett, Edmonton Oilers (head coach)

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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